Posted by ninemoons
Posted on May 14, 2008, in Pop Culture. Bookmark the permalink. 35 Comments.
Nope. Depeche Mode at least has the honor of having had Johnny Cash cover one of their songs. But 80s euro-synth? No thank you.
Where’s your AI post?
I vote for Bronski Beat.
I think Bronski Beat is too good to be lumped in with these bands. If I had to choose, I guess it would be Pet Shop Boys. It’s all a little too tame for me (says the guy who loves Psychedelic Furs).
PSB have had a lot of great stuff since the 80′s.
This isn’t between these two and the rest of the 80′s bands, it’s between these two!
And they both lose.
PSB has far more staying power (not to mention more hits).
I enjoy both of these groups, and have huge selections of both on my iPhone and iPod. If I have to choose, however, I prefer Erasure. Besides, I saw their concert this past summer, and had a fantastic time. Andy Bell has an amazing ability to play to an audience! (Okay, okay, I’ll admit it—I want a pair of those rhinestone-studded urban camouflage pants he was wearing. Ha!!)
Why should I pick one or the other? I like both!
Choosing between these two bands is like trying to choose between two different brands of tutti-fruity ice cream. Why bother?
It’s not an option on the short list but I would like to protest and say Squeeze. They seem to be a band that achieved some prominence at about the same time (during the 80s) that Pet Shop Boys and Erasure were putting out their albums.
I can still remember girls who were into Pet Shop Boys also wearing the Squeeze “Cosi Fan Tutti Frutti” t-shirts.
What can I say … I was in high school at that time. Asking this question brings up snapshots in my brain.
Also, Squeeze is a really fun listen. Though a lot of New Wave fans liked them – Squeeze are much less euro-synth and more of an actual band. As I see it, Difford and Tilbrook are sort of a minor version of Lennon and McCartney and Jools Holland (besides being a complete wacko) is quite the pianist.
Anyone who wants to challenge this should listen to “Tempted,” “Black Coffee in Bed,” “Up the Junction,” etc. and then revisit the argument.
If only to hear snippets of the fantastic Dusty Springfield, I gotta go with PSB.
Also, Squeeze aren’t flamboyantly gay.
Also, Squeeze arenÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t flamboyantly gay.
There’s no doubt that Andy Bell camps it up for the audience. Of course, “the audience,” at the concert I attended, seemed to include a very high percentage of GLBT people, so this is to be expected. Camp aside, I was really inspired by Andy Bell. He’s been HIV+ for many years, yet he’s in much better physical shape than I ever expect to be, and has an astounding amount of energy. Clearly, he’s not allowed his status to limit him. He’s a great role model in those terms.
Squeeze is pub rock, not synth-pop. They’re a great band, but they don’t belong in this discussion.
If I had my druthers, I’d vote for FOtC.
erasure – more synth
PSB – more pop
Both topped my playlist in 1990. (Alongside queensryche, scorpions and van halen)
I have gone through 3 copies of Very, (My son loves the case) and I wore out a copy of introspective. That said, I tend to listen to more erasure now that psb.
Erasure is very pop and PSB is very synth. I think the differences are that PSB is a little more serious and substantial, though that’s like saying that a malt is more substantial than a shake.
I remember being at an Erasure concert in summer 1988 in Utah. I think Andy wore a pink tutu. It was mildly scandalous at the time because there were a quite a large number of Utah teens who had no idea about the gay factor in Erasure. Sort of like the Village People in the 70s. It was a great concert. Erasure always put on a good show.
I remember seeing footage of a concert on 120 minutes or something where he wore the pink tutu. All these kids needed to do was flip on MTV!
gabby, Utah didn’t allow MTV, it would corrupt the youth of the state!
well, my parents didn’t allow it either, but I somehow got around that…
Definitely Erasure, though I like both a lot.
I got my hands on Erasure’s live Wild! video in high school, and was quite surprised. I had already been a fan for years, but never would have guessed what their concerts were like.
PSB haven’t released anything I’ve liked much since Very, but I think Erasure’s recent album Nightbird is excellent (as was the live show).
Did anyone see PSB when they were on Dancing With the Stars? That was a trip.
People who dismiss these bands as synth fluff aren’t listening. Both bands feature serious songsmiths. Only a few bands, and I’m including The Beach Boys and ABBA, can match their flair for writing infectious pop hooks. There are a lot of 80s bands who can, and should be, dismissed as talentless fluff, but not these two bands.
If forced to choose, I’d take PSB over Erasure, if only because PSB is a little darker and melancholy. PSB is also fairly acclaimed critically. Erasure less so.
I like Squeeze and Psychedelic Furs and Bronski Beat (all mentioned in various comments), but I none of their catalogues match up with PSB or Erasure.
I’m not familiar with either band’s full catalogue, but I seriously doubt either did anything as great as the P Furs did. But the P Furs shouldn’t be lumped in with synth pop bands, IMO.
I love the Psych Furs, own their entire catalogue, and have seen them in concert multiple times. The Mirror Moves album was particularly important to me as a freshman in H.S. in 1984. Love Richard Butler’s solo stuff too.
IMO, people too quickly and too easily dismiss synth pop bands. Maybe we shouldn’t compare PSB to PF because they aren’t technically part of the same genre. (I’d include both bands as part of the bigger 80s/Brit/Alternative/NewWave genre, but belonging to different subgroups within that genre. I’d compare the Psychedlic Furs more to Echo and the Bunnyment, The Church, Simple Minds, Shreikback and other post-punk bands.
My point is that when comparing the individual songs as craft, PSB (and to some degree Erasure) at a minimum measure up to the Psych Furs. But just my opinion.
I can’t speak to the songwriting of synthpop bands; it may, for all I know, be spectacular. But I can’t get past the performance–horrible synthesizers and drum machines gratingly trying to create music. (Yes, I’m a snob for acoustic instruments, analogue keyboards and organs, and electric guitars.) Most of what I’ve heard of synthpop (especially from the 80s) seems to rely on the wow-factor of: I can make this sound without the real instrument, rather than the craft of performing.
And it’s not limited to synthpop: plenty of jazz sax players, when they pick up their digital wind synthesizers, don’t do justice to the music in the same way they do when they pick up their saxes. There are, of course, exceptions, and there may well be in the 80s synthpop world, too, but I’ve been turned off enough by what I’ve heard to not bother looking for the good in there.
PET SHOP BOYS ( DANCE)
ERASURE THE BEST!!!!!!
ERASURE is my favorite electronic pop group and are better than the Psb
There is no match here: Pet Shop Boys are not only better than Erasure but also one of the best pop acts all time. Their albums up to 1993 are all great and their 80s output simply defined an era. Sorry but I cannot think anything that Erasure managed other than a few good singles. On the other hand…just google PSB and see their collaborations, soundtrack scores, ballet, musicals, coffee table books and all this IN ADDITION to immerse backcatologue of singles and albums, including one of the best covers all time, ALWAYS ON MY MIND.
PSB easily win. The depth of their lyrics, the details they put into their songs and the concepts they give life are simply outstanding. Who else than the Boys managed to work with Madonna, Elton John, Dusty Springfield, Tina Turner, Liza Minelli, Suede, David Bowie, The Klliers, Lady Gage, Johnny Marr from the Smiths? None…They may be the best songwriters coming from England since the Beatles.
Erasure win, Neil Nennant cant sing,he has a poor vocal range and the Pet Shop Boys are so overated in the UK its beginning to become a joke. Their poor 2012 album Elysium and first single Winner are bloody awful, yet they were still being hailed as a British national treasure at the 2012 Olympic closing ceramoney??? Erasure are the band that time forgot, thanks to the UK music industry writing them off as 80′s has beens, yet they are still touring and releasing some great albums, check out Nightbird and Tommorows world.
PSB in my opinion. They do have the same flaws that much techno music has. A certain distance and lack of soul along with a certain repetitiveness. Still I find I always enjoyed their music more than Erasure.
On the other hand a lot of synth music and techno music becomes dated quite quickly. I think the main reason people have the attachment is more out of personal nostalgia than the quality of the music itself. I don’t think a lot of this music will stand the test of time.
The big problem i have is why does the UK music industry keep on praising The Pet Shop Boys as some 80′s Synth Pop Legends/Gods??? they had a few decent songs back in the 80′s but really can anybody outside their fanbase ie sombody off the street (Joe Public) name one of their singles from the past 20 years, i bet they cant. They got a lifetime achievement award at the Brit Awards a few years ago, yet the real Synth Pop Legend/God of the 80′s Vince Clarke (Depeche Mode, Yazoo and Erasure) keeps getting totally ignored. It seems Neil Tennent still knows how to manipulate the media/press from his days as editor of the music magazine Smash Hits.
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